Video: British Parliament's Fiery Debate Over Rescinding Trump State Visit Invitation

Guy Benson
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Posted: Feb 21, 2017 5:01 PM
Video: British Parliament's Fiery Debate Over Rescinding Trump State Visit Invitation

As we mentioned in passing a few weeks ago, a fashionable cause celebre among British lefties these days is to demand that the conservative government rescind its state visit invitation to the President of the United States. Prime Minister Theresa May has already dismissed those calls, but members of Parliament were compelled to conduct a "largely symbolic" debate on the subject after 1.8 million people signed a petition on the matter. Allahpundit notes that somewhat lost in the hoopla and global coverage is the fact that "a counter-petition in support of the invitation notched more than 300,000 signatures and a YouGov poll taken earlier this month found Brits in favor of inviting Trump, 49/36." As the debate unfolded, Labour members recounted many of the now-familiar lowlights of Trump's rhetoric and controversial actions, arguing that other American presidents were not extended this prestigious honor:

During the debate, a Labour legislator, David Lammy, spoke of Mr. Trump’s attitudes and asked why Britain should “abandon all its principles” and invite him, “because this country is so desperate for a trade deal that we would throw all our own history out the window?” He said: “We didn’t do this for Kennedy. We didn’t do this for Truman. We didn’t do this for Reagan. But for this man, after seven days, we say, ‘Please come and we will lay on everything because we are so desperate for your company?’” He added, “I am ashamed that it has come to this.”

That may be true, several Tories countered, but we have rolled out the red carpet for far more distasteful foreign leaders, so why the hissy fit over the duly-elected president of our closest ally? In any case, with left-wing protesters picketing outside, everyone had their say -- and the very likely outcome is that the invite will stand and the visit will happen...sooner or later, at least.  The first clip below is a brief compilation that captures the overall tenor and content of the rhetorical sparring session.  The second video includes the full remarks of Conservative MP Nigel Evans, who says that even though he doesn't condone all of Trump's actions and statements, critics need to "get over it" and respect America's electoral outcome.  Amid jeers and scoffs from some of his colleagues, Evans notes that Trump won the 'forgotten man' in November, just as Brexit prevailed in the face of sneering opposition from a cross-section of elites:

"When we stand up in this country and condemn [Trump] for being racist...we're actually attacking the American people."

A former Tory minister who supported Hillary Clinton last year tried to cut through the noise with a strong endorsement of Trump's state visit: "What we have got to do is look at what is going to be most helpful for Britain, for its future policy and development, and I think it is a no brainer that working closer with the United States is far more important for this country, particularly as we begin negotiations and the exit from the EU in two, two and a half years' time. We cannot afford to be isolated and to ignore our friends,” he said.  By the way, as AP duly points out, the above debate prompted by this petition was separate from a much-discussed complaint issued by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who voiced his objection to Trump being allowed to address the Houses of Parliament.  His reasoning: "Sexism," "racism" and the migrant ban.  Bercow's dramatic speech (which critics charge violated the spirit of his role as a neutral administrator) was cheered by the gathered Labourites, but Downing Street quickly threw cold water on that petulant gambit, too:  “We look forward to welcoming the President to the UK later this year. The dates and arrangements for the state visit will be worked out in due course.”  And much like the lefty double standards exposed in the Evans clip above, here's some precedent that Bercow somehow failed to mention during his anti-Trump soapbox moment:

But who needs facts, context, consistency or perspective when feel-good ideological preening will earn you a round of applause from Jeremy Corbyn's decimated party? Incidentally, Bercow now faces a no-confidence motion, according to Bloomberg.